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Haiti - Elections : The role of UNPol this March 20

Haiti - Elections : The role of UNPol this March 20
At the weekly press briefing of the Minustah Jean-François Vezina spokesman for the United Nations Police (UNPol) announced that as part of its support [that of UNPol] to the electoral process, a training was provided on February 21 and 22 to about 30 trainers who in their turn will train the ASE (Electoral Security Agents). Held over two days, the training was given to a group of new UNPol who joined the mission or who replaced the trainers in place for the first round. In total, 60 UnPol trainers, are intended for the training of the ASE.

The training provided to the ASE (4200) in all departments and the capital of course began March 10. And this training will end next Sunday.

Mr. Vezina says that 343 supervisors and 223 ASE have been replaced after the first round of elections for behavioral reasons.

About the security he announces:

  • That an integrated security plan was carried out with the authorities of the Police Nationale d'Haiti (PNH). In light of this plan, an additional staff of nearly 300 police officers were redeployed to support the PNH in all departments during the pre-election period and during the election day on March 20.
  • Strengthening of our presence FPU (Formed Police Unit) in 5 departments, mainly in the departments where we lived overflows in the first round. The objective of this reinforcement is to ensure to well support the PNH, to ensure that everything takes place in the order and to avoid overflows the days before and the day of the elections.

Mr. Vezina took the opportunity to elaborate on the possibilities of intervention of the UNPol on March 20, he explains "there are cases where the UNPOL can work inside a voting center. If the incident occurs outside a polling station and for which we will be witness, we can detain the suspect and hand it to the National Police of Haiti. If the event occurs within a polling station, we must expect an explicit request from the National Police of Haiti.Before intervening, the PNH itself must be requested by the electoral authorities, namely the president of a polling station, the supervisor of a polling station, or an ASE" adding that "this request should be directed to the PNH who will intervene. The members of the component UNPol will intervene if a request is made to them by a member of the PNH to bear them or in a situation of force majeure where the PNH is not present. The only cases where we could intervene of manner autonomous and independent this is if a person's life was in danger".

Mr. Vezina says also that we should not forget an important player in the safe conduct during this second round of voting. This is the contribution of the entire Haitian population in the smooth running of the day. "You know, at a time as important that the elections for a country, a department or a city, regardless of the actual security in place, if we do not get a disciplined collaboration of the population, there will always be disorder surrounding the elections" adding that he invites the public to offer its full cooperation to the authorities of the PNH, to use the emergency numbers 112 to join the PNH and 113 to reach the component UNPol.

"Be assured that we will do everything in our power to bring the best possible support to the PNH authorities so that this day takes place in the order and security " concluded Mr. Vezina.

At the end of press briefing, a question session ensued.

At the level of the MINUSTAH, are you confident on the success of the March 20 vote, given the rather tragic experience of the first round?

Vincenzo Pugliese, Deputy Spokesman of the Mission has responded "We rely on a smooth second round because there were lessons that were learned from the first round. Reports were made ​​by the observer mission OAS/CARICOM, by the National Observer and the political parties containing recommendations to the CEP to improve the conduct of the second round. These recommendations were taken into account by the CEP which has well communicated on the corrections made. We all hope that this will be a better second round"

Mr Vezina spoke about strengthening security measures at the level of five departments for the good conduct of the elections. Why did you choose five departments for strengthen security measures while the elections will take place throughout the territory?

"Good question. I want to focus on what motivated us to strengthen our staff in five departments. For obvious security reasons, I will not name the departments. For cons, the main reason that motivates a strengthening in these five departments, it's either the environment or a criminal situation, maybe a little higher, or is the security problems we have experienced in the first round election. These are the main reasons why we have strengthened our presence in these departments. You know that throughout the country, the elections during the first round went very smoothly in some departments and less well in others. That's why we strengthened the most problematic departments [...] there is no element that leads us to believe that the second electoral round, on the security plan could go wrong. We feel a certain calm in the country and we are very confident that the second round will take place in order. So if the people offer us its collaboration, there is no reason why the second round goes wrong" answered Jean Francois Vezina.

So that would mean that for the MINUSTAH or at least for the UNPOL, there are five departments mapped in the red zone?

"That does not mean that all voting centers in these departments are classified red. For us it is rather the areas on which we must pay close attention. So this is simply reinforce our presence to ensure the maximum of security for the smooth running of the second electoral round. For cons, I would like to stress, despite the fact that we are increasing our presence in these departments, we will still be present in other departments. That is to say there will be an effective presence in all departments to support the staff of the National Police of Haiti. But we pay a particular attention to five departments"

HL/ HaitiLibre

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